Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Writing as therapy

In my writing class, our assignment for the week is to write about either our favorite dessert or a spiritual experience. I've already written about my favorite dessert, and it made me hungry. So I'll tackle the divine.

I've had plenty of high points in my spiritual journey. My first was when I was just 9 years old, a mere 4th grader. I was sad, in bed, at night.

There I lay, alone in the darkness of my room, haunted by insomnia. I was crying to myself, feeling lonesome. It was a hard time for me. My parents were both very involved with work, and my brother was in his second year at a very demanding school, so I felt isolated from my family. My father was literally gone 4 days a week on business travel. My brother was at school an hour longer than me each day and stayed in his room to do homework all afternoon.

I prayed. I prayed a lot - praying every night was a habit of mine. I read my Bible, attended Sunday School, even attempted to memorize Bible verses. A year earlier, my mother had encouraged me to read Leviticus as a cure for insomnia. Surprisingly, I found the book absolutely fascinating, and so I was reading a lot of the Bible. It didn't cure my insomnia, but I suppose it was a good thing for my soul.

That night I prayed, crying out to God. I was sad and alone. In that dark room, I felt God's presence. The Holy Spirit told me I needed to give myself to God. How? It wasn't a voice. Not an audible one. It was just knowledge, a thought that emerged in my mind. I had not been baptized as a baby, and in Sunday School we had talked about baptism and "inviting God into your heart." The knowledge that it was time to give myself to God manifested in action as praying that prayer. I invited Jesus to live in my heart.

What was this like? I have layers of memory covering the original experience. There was the direct contact - the mystical communion between the Holy Spirit and my spirit. There was the layer of conscious thought - the encoding of the communion into words and action. There was the layer of theology - the proper response to God's call. The layer of narrative, when I chose to share the experience and come forward for public baptism. The layer of memory, as I encoded that moment into long term storage.

At the root was the mystical experience - the connection with the Divine. I heard God. I gave myself to Her.

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